It's September...

 A beautiful place to be when there is no wind.
honesty in the Wattle Woods

It's September, and the garden is screaming to be up and moving, like a child who has lost patience with sitting still. I hope I can see and enjoy all the big changes this month, as well as the simple things like the colours of the flowers and the moods they create.

Sunday September 8th

It's my birthday! I am technically a medium-to-old person. I've been absent from the garden for a week now, and today went out for an early morning peep. Everything is changing!

The red rhododendrons in the Wattle Woods are flowering, with patches of white and purple honesty underneath and the bright yellow Wattle flowers high above. Everywhere in between there are clean strong green foliage. It's a heart-warming sight, and still takes my breath away. Suddenly my garden is transformed into the most beautiful picture. Amazing.

 Come home Sifter! We miss you very much!
sifter the cat

Sifter the Cat is Missing

On a sadder but realistic note, Sifter the cat has still not returned. When will he return, scratching at the glass on the sliding door, squawking like a seagull - saying feed me NOW? He has been missing for more than a week, though the weather has been mild - excellent for rodent hunting and living off the land. Is he merely extending his circuit, feeling sharp and cat-happy? Or is he fat, sleeping off his breakfast on a cushion in someone else's house?

Or perhaps this has been his last cruise.

Daffodils everywhere have suddenly all woken up and decided it's time to flower. So there are huge clumps of heads in various tones of yellow. Each clump faces a certain direction like separate groups of tourists listening to their own tour guide and staring as directed. There are shoots on the hostas, and other perennials seem to have woken, brushed off last year's rubbish, and come clean with masses of fresh new growth. The lawns have been newly mowed.

Monday 9th September

I'm not in the garden but I've just noticed (sitting in the breakfast chairs) that the tulips are starting to bloom. I can see the cherry tree in full blossom, and the flowers of the deep pink camellia are visible in the foreground. The grass is the most beautiful shade of green in the later afternoon light. My best birthday present (a standard Genista whose delicate yellow racemes are just starting to flower) is in the corner of the patio looking very stylish. I just wish that Sifter the cat would come home - then my garden life would be complete. I miss him.

 Daffodils and honesty.
spring flowers

Saturday 14th September

I am drinking my first cup of hot coffee, almost ready to go outside. The last three weeks have been work-crazy. I am about to go out and transform myself into Moosey. Moosey-time is definitely due. Overdue.

What shall I do first? Check my seeds? Burn some rubbish? The Olearia hedge was clipped last weekend (when I was a non-gardener) and there are piles of prunings to be burnt. The colours of the spring flowers are beautiful, and I need to describe them, photograph them and rejoice. I particularly love the purple honesty framing the pale cream daffodils by the house.

The welcome home fence-line daffodils are also now in full flower. All these things need to be noticed and enjoyed, very slowly and calmly. There is no rush today to get to a school rehearsal or finish any marking. And in one week I will be on holiday.

Before I go, more words about Sifter the cat. He still has not returned, and we are prepared now that he may indeed never come home again. He had a great life here, eating, hunting, being warm, getting fussed over and talked to. In his early years (before his cruising moods started) he even competed strongly in my annual summer Most Valuable Cat Competition. We gave him the best of loving homes with lots of food, and that's all there really is to say! Goodbye to the lovely big fat Sifter cat - where-ever you have sifted off to.

 The Plank and the Dog-Path Garden in spring.
spring growth


I have worked really hard all day (apart from a break for lunch where I had cold sausages and a glass of champagne - don't ask!). I have weeded and burnt and pricked out seeds and raked and I have enjoyed every minute. There are so many little things happening in secluded corners. The floor of the Wattle Woods is covered with white and purple flowering honesty plants, and looks quite magical. I have done edges and dug out giant dandelion taproots and found lots of broken gum branches over by the pond. I've spent a lot of time in the gardens around the glass-house. Now it is time for soaking my medium-to-old bones and putting on a white shirt. I have been saving a glossy gardening book all week. This will be my reward for a wonderfully slow day in the garden.

 These are beautifully growing in a planter box by the decking. I can't remember planting them here.

Sunday 15th September

Moosey-time starts in 15 minutes - enough time to get a hot cup of coffee and to plan the day. I read a bit of my new gardening book (Creative Ideas for New Zealand Gardeners) last night. Each photo in the book has perfect details, and I wish that my garden could look like that. I don't mean that it be perfect, but I'd like all of the garden to look recently cared for, all at once. These days I'll visit a new area and notice huge amounts of work needing to be done. My garden never has all its areas organised at the same time.

 Blossom in Middle border.
flowering crab apple

So today I might allow myself to wander far and wide setting thing right. The Pond Border needs an urgent visit (I never got around to fold over the old gunnera leaves - wonder how much new spring growth these dramatic plants have made?). I will spread mulch and horse-poos and try to finish pruning the roses. Perhaps there needs to be three of me to get everything done - I could hire in two under-gardeners and boss them around. It might be simpler just to retire from my day job!

I'm back briefly to remove some thermal clothing, and can't resist checking in to the diary. I'm grappling with the Pond Border, trying to decide whether to just slice out all the weeds with the bog sage, or be more selective. I have lost my only digger, and this may sway my decision. The blue pansies by the decking are huge and very very blue. I can't remember planting them or growing them from seed, but I must have - they look like pristine 10 seeds per packet hybrids.


Again I have worked really hard all day. I am tired but triumphant. The pond garden is cleared, the Laundry path is reclaimed and the large woody lavender branches all burnt. If these rather severely pruned bushes recover and sprout, good, but if not I will replace them. Now there is cricket to watch - the perfect end to a perfect day.